Many of you are probably thinking, “How in the hell could this ever apply to me?”, but hear me out and you will understand.

Okay, before I start, here’s a quick backstory:

When I was younger, I was bullied all of the time, and many times art was my outlet to channeling those negative emotions associated with being mentally and physically tormented by my peers. As I came into my preteen years, I discovered Manga (usually Japanese graphic novels) and Anime (Japanese animated TV/movies). I fell in love almost instantaneously, especially after having experienced the hit TV show, Dragonball Z. I think what inspired and attracted my mind to anime was mostly the main character who was typically a kind hearted, “pure” individual who was always the lesser of his peers, and who was oppressed or abandoned in some major way. I could always relate to them, and in a sense they gave me strength because these same characters were the ones in the stories that had the infinite potential to become the most powerful being in existence. While I clearly understood that I could not even punch a wall and have the entire building collapse, the simple fact that there was someone like me (fake or not) out there who knew my experience and rose above it was enough for me to want to be more as well.

Lesson #1: Chances are, you will be horrible in the beginning, but a refusal to give up will yield rewarding results.

When I first began editing and creating AMVs (Anime Music Video), I did not understand the YouTube format or what creating a music video really meant at all. I found out very soon that it is much more than choosing a clip from an episode, then overlaying your favorite songs. With the creation of the video comes an overall mood that you are trying to portray, a story you are trying to tell, a flow between the chosen clips that fit this feeling, and a perfect synchronization between the audio and visual effects. In the beginning, I had no effects, nothing was in synch, and the clips were pixelated and with no real correlation to the song. All of you editors out there understand the grind, but for those who haven’t edited a video before — you can spend hours just trying to perfect 10 seconds of a video. AMVs usually ranged from 30 seconds to 5 minutes (approximately), so you can image the time that it would take to create a body of work that you would feel is satisfactory. I didn’t understand how the software that I downloaded worked, so the first 50 videos that I made were appalling. I got no views, and was openly criticized by others on the site all of the time. I couldn’t deny the truth though, so rather than succumbing to the foul words, I used my frustration as an outlet to focus on improving.

I watched tutorial after tutorial, and interacted with the well-known editors of YouTube asking all sorts of questions. I’m sure that I annoyed the hell out of them, but I did what was necessary. I spent hours upon hours practicing and editing, from simple masking techniques to learning how to create high definition audio and video color quality by messing around with the RGB scale. I learned how to use Vegas and After Effects to compliment one another, and as time went on I started to see the improvements that I wanted to see. I participated in every contest that I could, and challenged other editors to IC battles (a way to market your skills since simply mentioning a person’s account name in the description of the battle video is guaranteed to get them exposure to build their own fan base). All of a sudden, people were coming to me for advice, I began to surpass my peers, and my views went up exponentially. I had fans for Christ’s sake! When I look back, I realize that I had no idea of what a great feat it was to go from nothing to one of the biggest names in AMV editing on YouTube from ages 12–14. Now, instead of 100, I was getting over 10,000 on an average video. In just a year, I went from 0 subscribers to over 1,000. I hit my peak when I spent about 3 months on a video about my two favorite characters in a series called Naruto. The views grew so quickly (30,000+) that I got an email from YouTube about allowing them to advertise in exchange for revenue on my part.

To this day, I still get hundreds of great comments and the views still are growing. I’ve been inactive for years! I was too young to understand it so I disregarded it at the time, but now that I look at it, I could’ve been making an easy few hundred to a thousand dollars monthly just by releasing more content. I am still content with how things went though.

I am eternally thankful for that time of my life because not only did it teach me to do as I feel, not as others do, but it also taught me how to commit to something that I’m passionate about and to continue to fight knowing full well that the beginning will be challenging and will seem impossible. Do you think any of my peers did these things? No! And some of my real “friends” even tried to talk down to me about it, but I loved it! F*ck a negative opinion. I joined this community with no knowledge of anything, but essentially came out as a guru! This lesson applies to all of you because no matter where you are now; the same principles that dictated my success as a creator of AMVs will more than likely play a role in your branding techniques, business ventures, marketing campaigns, personal projects, etc. and the only thing that will get you over those initial humps of having nothing but cynics around you, constant rejection, checking your promo video and only seeing 5 views, or not even knowing where to start with your goal is remembering that it is only the beginning. You will gain knowledge, and with that applied knowledge will come improvement. You must know for yourself that it will get better as long as you apply yourself beyond what is required of you.

*For those who don’t believe me about my fans, sh*t was real back then*ade 1 ade 2

ade3 ade4


Lesson #2: Having a solid, ambitious team will always outweigh relying on yourself for great ideas and inspiration.

While I do firmly stand for the idea that no one can develop the self more than the beholder of self, when talking in terms of learning new things that don’t directly tie into who you are beyond your flesh, a good team is never a burden. One of the greatest factors that helped my ascension to manifest was the many groups and communities that I joined and collaborated with. The very first was a MEP (multi-editor production) group called Killer Skillz Productions (KSP; our first MEP is still up on YT). I came into contact with the leader through another pretty known editor on YouTube, and on the first day of talking we exchanged IM screen names and I joined his group chat. These guys all were my age, and were from all over the world. Crazy thing is we are all are still in contact with one another to this day! One is an all state track athlete for UTSA now, the other (his cousin) is a Houston rapper on the come up, one guy lives in the UK and goes to school, another in England, and the last is also a college student but lives in Virginia. When I joined this group, they each taught me everything that they knew. I absorbed the best qualities from each of them, and once I was ready we produced a MEP Group video where all of us either edit different portions of the same song or we pick our own song and find a way to mix it all together. Two of the guys in the group were already really well known, and the other two weren’t after views so much but were very good at putting a video together. We were a powerhouse, and everyone knew who we were because of our affiliation with other groups that we individually were a part of and our level of skill. Of course they were all better than me in the beginning, but it was simply being a part of the group and being able to grow with them that caused me to reach the new heights that I was reaching.

Lesson #3: Your passion and your why must be the driving force behind your work; doing it for infamy isn’t enough.

If you were to ask me what drove me to spending countless hours, days, weeks, and even months on single projects that a very small percentage of the world would end up seeing, I would say that it was my love for the art itself. Yes, the views were awesome, but infamy among my peers wasn’t all that pushed me forward. It was the end result of the time and energy put into my work, coupled with my love for Anime and music. It was the end result of me channeling whatever negative emotions I had into my work. Your reasoning is the single most important motivator in all things that you will do in life. Many in my generation especially want to be rich or famous — why? What is the reason behind your desire? What reasoning is powerful enough to cause to continue no matter how many agent rejections, failed businesses, or critics tear you apart? Of course my work wasn’t THAT serious to me, but that was the beauty of it. It wasn’t work in my eyes. It wasn’t to be taken seriously, so my ideas flowed freely and I felt no pressure, even when I did have deadlines and expectations of my work as I grew. The fandom was a bonus, but the true reward was knowing within myself that I was continuously releasing better and better content that not only inspired people, but that represented myself and my ideas in an awesome way.

Since discovering it, I loved every aspect of what art was and what it represented as a quality in human beings. It was always for the love of it, and because I loved it, it was easy to shrug off trolls and other naysayers because all that mattered to me was that I was enjoying the process. Many of us nowadays get so lost in the process that we forget to enjoy and learn from it. I am thankful for having experienced this so early on in my life.

Just as any other person who only pursues a dream for the money or the recognition, my intention with my work began to change as I grew up. I began to compare all of my work to my peak work, and tried to force myself into recreating carbon copies of that AMV so that I could maintain my decently large following and continue to gain more subscribers. In my efforts to do so, I burned out on ideas and hit what I would call an editors block. I wanted nothing to do with editing anymore because in my own words back then, “I will never make anything as good as my most popular video.” I lost my why among the wants of others, and in becoming jaded. So I took time off. I think it was a year or two where I created things, but never released them. I deleted 100+ videos from my channel, and kept the few that I thought were good enough to stay. To this day I regret that decision because it was awesome to go back and to see my growth as a video editor as I went from my day one video to my videos that everyone in the AMV community loved. But that’s water under the bridge now. So after a while, the same began to happen to the guys in my original group (KSP) too, and one by one we fell off for a time. One day we each were chatting it up, and we talked about the old days and how different but fun it was when we first started. We came to an agreement right then and there that we would each start fresh and put out new content without any expectations, just that original love for the art of it all. We did just that, and I was reawakened as a result. I created a new page to prevent myself from comparing to my old style videos, and didn’t focus on promotion or anything else of the sort. I focused in on what I loved most about it all, and that’s how my second alias came into being:


It wasn’t anything special per se, and I still had my collabs and videos with a ridiculous amount of views from time to time, but even that I didn’t engage mentally. This time around, it really was all about my love for doing what I was doing, and for producing work that I really applied my individualized thought to rather have than thinking more about the numbers. I’d say that of all that I’ve learned, it has proven to be the most crucial lesson from those experiences because in adulthood — your ‘why’ is your everything. From writing my book, You vs You: A Guide to Creating Positive Changes in Your Life, to getting my various training certifications, to learning about entrepreneurship and smart investing, to relearning martial arts and committing fully to fitness — success in all of these areas will eventually stem back to my why for pursuing each and every one of them.

If you have a dream, a goal, an aspiration, whatever — ask yourself why you want that thing. Why is your project so important to you? Why do you want to product to succeed? Why do you want your message to be heard? Why do you want fame? What else besides having your name be known motivates you? What do you want to be known for? Why do you want wealth? What are you so passionate about that you will stop at nothing until that passion yields financial abundance? There are endless questions, and no answer is the right answer, but that doesn’t mean that you should lie to or sell yourself short. If you are going to do something, do it with passion or don’t do it at all. If you want something, go for it because it something you believe in or love, not because it’ll just make you lots of money and get your name put on some billboard. You are more than a status or a number.

It’s funny how a few moments of reflection can lead to such realizations. This all came from me going back through my past and thinking about everything that I learned then that is contributing to my now. And that was just once instant! Imagine combing through every lesson that you’ve ever learned throughout life. The “one step backward to take two steps forward” really takes on a literal meaning here. Life is interesting, man.

I hope that this was of some sort of help to you all, and above all else; I hope that it encourages each of you to also look inward in order to see how best to approach moving forward with efficiency and grace during your now and your tomorrow. At the time it seemed like a harmless hobby, but without it I would not be who I am today. For that, I am grateful for these lessons, and will continue to search for more as I make this climb. I trust that the rest of you creatives will do the same.


About Author

Leave A Reply

Advertisment ad adsense adlogger